Saturday, 27 November 2010

Martin Spencer GN Spider 11 at Shelsley Walsh 2009

Darracq V8

Edwardian racing cars for many years had always been represented by illustrations of heroic poses in "Speed" and "Boys Own" annuals and in encyclopedic format books. A little like many of us as children might think of the old days as black and white, I never really pictured the Edwardians as being really fast and exciting.
It was quite late in life that I realised just how dramatic these cars really were. For me the greatest reason for this thrilling enlightenment is Mark Walker.
I'm sure that there are many others who drove their cars, in these modern day meetings, with the same dynamic style but Mark has always been outstanding. 
So often I have returned from meetings with the image of Mark's head forward, elbows skyward, animated body posture, wrestling the big steering wheel of a rarely straight, thundering, fire breathing monster.
I feel a real urge to get out the clay or pencils and capture those images almost as if this allows me to become part of this excitement.

I cannot think of a more appropriate person to own this greatest car of all and demonstrate some of the spectacle of the great Edwardian road races. Every corner is worthy of a new rendition of the famous F Gordon-Crosby illustration in Autocar Magazine.

There is an excellent illustration of this car on Stefan Marjoram's Sketch Blog .Darracq V8. This is a brilliant blog  with so many fine sketches and photos. View Stefan's Flicker on  his sidebar.

In the video below, Mark tells much of the cars history. The follow on second video has "in car footage". I guess that should be on car! Its just all of that old, historic mechanism that can never be recreated, I love this car.

Darracq 1905 Mark Walker at Forde Abbey June 2010 one of two

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Dorset vs New York

Some figures published in a national paper made me smile and raise an eyebrow, just a quick comparison between my home county and New York:

New York population 22m                                   Dorset 700,000
                 10,194 per sq km                                           159 per/sq km
                 12.5% over 65                                                29% over 65
 Famous sons Jay Z, Frank Sinatra                    Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall,T Hardy
Tourist Attractions. Empire State, Statue of         Chesil Beach, Pirate  Adventure        

Sure is quiet round here, I guess there is no chance of the "Sex in the City" Girls coming here....not for another thirty years anyway.

Still a great place tho!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Outlaw Racer Paint

Some more pics of the Outlaw Dirt Track Car.

I didn't mean to go quite as over the top as this, may be too much but I will carry on with the rest of the body and see how it looks. Changes will add to the effect I am sure.

Cool Patina, Original Truck (gilmore.jpg hosted at

As I was looking for some images to help with the outlaw racer I came across this. I love it:
In fact there is a '34 Austin 12 Truck sitting in the corner of the workshop, I wonder?
Zoom in to the logo on the door.

Thanks to Image shack for this.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Bathroom Escapism!

Inspired whilst reading about the days when flying boats and fast seaplanes where regular news, I painted these on the bathroom wall in our last house.

What's on the go?

Some of this weeks workshop projects:

The C.I.M.E. engine had a fairly primitive oil system which has shown some evidence of premature wear in the rear main and the rockers.........if you can say any wear on an 80 year old engine is premature!

As the revs will slightly increase and perhaps.. hopefully the horsepower, we thought it might be prudent to upgrade the oil system within the spirit of the period.
You will see from the photos that there is now a provision for a direct oil feed to the rear main (see older post photo), an oil feed to the rockers has also been set up from the Oil Pressure Relief Valve. The steeply angled pipe is the return from the rockers, necessary because of a deep trough around the valve springs and guides. This usefully feeds the additional quill shaft and bush assembly to drive a water pump (not previously fitted) from the timing chest.

The '59 Mercedes 220 engine was quite a quick turnaround for me. Fairly straight forward, you can really see the ease of assembly for mass production as opposed to the pre war engines that I normally deal with. Brilliant engineering and top quality materials throughout.

And finally some of the evenings this week have seen some more cosmetic paint and body work on the "Outlaw Racer"

Machining new castings for brake linkages. This is a really difficult job as far as charging is concerned. These casting have most likely been made through an Amilcar group. A problem that often occurs when the original parts are used as a pattern,  no allowance has given for shrinkage. It is then really difficult to set up the rough item and machine a datum that will allow as close to the original centre position as possible. And even more difficult to charge the cost of that set up time.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Photos and Sketches

Just going through some old files and thought I would share these random pics that I enjoy.
The painting/ sketches are of bits and pieces that encouraged me to find out my pencils and brushes.They are not particularly good but once I get going on paper or with clay it is brilliant for forgetting the bad bits of the week.
The first is a Maclaren steam plough engine that was converted in the thirties I think, to a huge diesel of their own making.
I was riding to work on a Monday morning about this time of year when this great monster loomed out of the autumn mist in a field adjacent to the road. I found real inspiration and tried hard to keep a picture in my head. This is an unfinished (as usual for me) pastel sketch. Bit wonky but hopefully captures a beast and some character.Just looking at it now I think I should sketch in some bushes around the terrible wheels.

The next is a self portrait from Waterlooville club meeting in about '88. The bike is a 500 Antig Weslake.

And Stirling Moss in a Mercedes, laid back and relaxed as always:

The next items are just cool random pics. I can't remember where they came from so sorry for not giving due credit. (I will correct this as soon as possible or remove them if necessary)

This Peerless is similar to the Green Dragon that a larger than life character and speed king,
Barney Oldfield raced.
I will post more on Barney Oldfield soon.

Some more sketches:

The following consist of two paintings that I have plagerised from Gordon-Crosby.
An unfinished scene from an early morning start to take the world diesel speed record by JCB, I stopped on this because I really want to catch the early morning sunlight hue on the vast salt flats......but I'm too scared to cock it up!

The next picture relates to the American outlaw car (see elsewhere in blog). When I started collecting parts for the car and placing them together I thought I would create a comic strip false provenance for the car's history, this was fun with my young son. Trouble is it takes an age, having written a storyline and "script" and created the drawings I realised I couldn't fit the script into the available space. Impatience took over and I went ahead with a severely chopped script that barely makes sense. The story was meant to continue with further instalments. The car is called the "Wisconsin Marine Special." You will see the full size one taking on it's identity in a short time hopefully.

Don't know anything about trains, but nice mechanisms to sketch.

Some Clay sculptures:

The sidecar represents the days shared with my brother racing off road.
There is a representation of Thrust II landspeed record car, Spirit of Ecstasy. A broken George and The Dragon and a plasticene '20s dirt track car

And some more paintings. One with a knife, the '61 Shark nose Ferrari, another unfinished..too scared to tackle the wheels on this Riley Gamecock  (I was involved in restoring the real car). And finally a painting of the Burt Munro Logo.